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How To Deal With Drunk Relatives Over The Holidays

Nov 15, 2023

As the holiday season approaches, so does the possibility of a problematic family scenario: an intoxicated relative spoiling the festivities. Many of us have been in this uncomfortable and stressful scenario. In this blog post, we’ll look at the challenges of dealing with alcohol-related concerns at family gatherings and provide some practical techniques for maintaining harmony, ensuring safety, and making these special events pleasurable for everyone. Handling intoxicated relatives at holiday parties requires poise and discretion. To proactively decrease excessive drinking, encourage moderation and provide non-alcoholic alternatives. Designate a sober family member to monitor the situation and intervene as needed. Maintain open communication, convey concern, and provide help without passing judgment. Consider arranging alcohol-free gatherings or offering other activities. Prioritize safety by organizing transportation or a location for highly inebriated guests to remain. The ultimate goal is to create a loving and welcoming environment while guaranteeing the well-being of all family members, encouraging pleasant relationships, and keeping the holiday spirit.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-841-1033.

How Intoxication Can Affect a Holiday Gathering

At a family holiday party, a person’s intoxication might have a huge impact on everyone else present. Their behavior, which may be influenced by drinking or the use of other substances, might disrupt the joyous environment, producing discomfort and stress among attendees. It may result in squabbles, embarrassment, or even dangerous circumstances. Others may feel obligated to intervene to manage the situation, detracting from their enjoyment of the event. Furthermore, the impaired judgment and emotional volatility of the individual who is intoxicated might damper the festive attitude and leave lingering bad memories.

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Dealing with Drunk Relatives During the Holidays

When dealing with a drunk relative during holiday parties, it is vital to maintain an atmosphere of understanding and care while prioritizing everyone’s well-being. The “do’s” in the following list emphasize empathy, support, and providing a safe atmosphere, while the “don’ts” emphasize avoiding enabling behaviors, confrontation, judgment, arguments, and isolation.


Don’t Enable: Don’t offer or serve alcohol to the drunk relative, and don’t purchase them drinks or give them money to buy alcohol. Avoid Confrontation: Avoid confronting the person in public or during the holiday party. It can cause shame and worsen the problem. Don’t Judge: Avoid expressing judgment or making harsh remarks about their drinking. Defensiveness and resistance could arise from judgment. Don’t Argue: Avoid arguing or debating with the intoxicated relative. Because alcohol impairs judgment, having these discussions in that state is counterproductive. Don’t Isolate: Don’t isolate or make the person feel excluded. Isolation could compound their problems and lead to further binge drinking.


Show Empathy: Make an effort to understand your relative’s alcoholism. Approach them with empathy, recognizing that addiction is a disease rather than a moral fault. Offer Support: Provide emotional support and urge them to seek assistance if they are ready. Tell them you’re here to help them on their road to recovery. Plan Ahead: Plan activities and games that do not involve alcohol if you are hosting the gathering. To limit temptation, create a sober-friendly environment. Designate a Sober Helper: Assign a trustworthy family member to remain sober and keep an eye on the drunk relative. This person can provide aid and assure safety if necessary. Communicate: Communicate with the individual in an open, non-confrontational manner. Express care for their well-being and offer to help.

Getting Help for a Relative with a Potential Alcohol Use Disorder

Hanley provides evidence-based treatment that has the potential to make a meaningful difference. Their programs offer a safe environment for people to detox and begin the road to recovery. Hanley addresses the physical, emotional, and psychological components of addiction with trained professionals and a holistic approach. Your efforts on behalf of someone who matters in your life may be the assistance and support they need to navigate this difficult time.

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